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99

(1923) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen - Tema: Russia
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AGRICULTURE 99
It is true that the export of corn also ceased
during this time ; but as the railways were unequal
to managing the distribution of foodstuffs both to
the armies and the civil population, the peasants
were unable to seil their surplus produce, and
this again led them to reduce the area under
cultivation, although there was a serious food
shortage at the Front and in various parts of
the Russian interior in the winter of 191 6-19 17,
and a serious bread-crisis in January and February
of the latter year in Petrograd and Moscow.
Bread riots in Petrograd were the beginning of
the first revolution in March, 1 9 1 7 .
But in addition to all this came the revolutions
and the Bolshevik administration and the civil wars,
and the richest provinces in Russia and Ukraine
were trampled under foot and ravaged by the
various armies in turn as they made their victorious
advances.
We hear much, outside Russia, of the Red
Army’s requisitions and of the peasant risings that
it suppressed. It is quite certain that the whole
system of requisitions had an extremely unfor
tunate influence on agriculture, and this is even
admitted by the Bolshevik Government ; but the
system of plunder and terrorism initiated by the
soldiery of Denikin, Koltchak, Petlura and Wrangel
are only too readily forgotten.
But it is also true, as is mentioned in the
next chapter, that the attempt to introduce the
communist system into agriculture had a disturbing
effect on the land conditions and temporarily

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